As I’ve said before, I can remember when living in an old trailer, cooking your own food from scratch, and bumming rides was not ‘deprivation’ or ‘savage austerity’, but the accepted standard of living for some of the population. Nothing wrong or dishonorable about it – as long as you’re paying your own way (if capable). I have no sympathy with those who want to retire at whatever standard of living they had when working, without having to save a dime on their own, or work at all in their retirement, and retire at 65 despite the fact that life expectancies have gone way up since SocSec was started. Sorry, Charlie, there isn’t a tooth fairy.
I do think we need to provide multiple ladders out of menial work, and multiple chances at those ladders – both as the neighborly thing to do, and as the best way to assure top profits/wages go to truly the top performers (not the well-connected). Specifically, basic nutrition and shelter, $1500/yr community college, and healthcare. Note we’ve aleady got everything but the healthcare, and that is on it’s way, with at least a fighting chance of getting there.